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Hitachi demos biometric blockchain authentication


Today Hitachi plans to demonstrate a coupon settlement system using blockchain and biometric identification. The retailers involved include telecom company KDDI’s flagship store ‘au SHINJUKU’ as well as a branch of Mr Donuts. The demonstration is just a pilot with employees and uses the KDDI coupon system.

Biometric identity

Users initially register and use their fingerprint for identification. It uses Hitachi’s proprietary Public Biometrics Infrastructure (PBI). Hitachi doesn’t store biometric data. Instead, it uses the fingerprint to generate a digital signature using public key cryptography.

The signature creation is a one-way conversion, and it uses fluctuations so it’s not repeatable. So if you created an identity again, the fluctuations would be slightly different and hence create a different signature.

How it works

When a user earns coupons, they’re associated with that person’s identity. Instead of presenting a coupon, to spend it the user holds their finger against the retailer’s authentication gadget. It’s not necessary to use a smartphone to use the coupon. This makes using coupons much quicker for the user plus it’s much more efficient for the retailer.

The coupon usage data is stored on a Hyperledger Fabric blockchain which cuts down the reconciliation costs. It also makes it very hard to tamper with the coupons. Each participant in the blockchain will host a node and hence a copy of the shared data.

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